Thursday, April 12, 2018

Daybreak (1939)

Daybreak is a 1939 French film directed by Marcel Carné and starring Jean Gabin. The main story is told as a flashback, as Gabin's character has barricaded himself in his apartment and is besieged by the police after he kills a man. His is a tragic tale as he looks back on how he came to such a pass.


English subtitles are available by clicking on CC in the film settings 
at the bottom right of the video above.

Slant Magazine considers it a "forerunner of film noir". Empire Online concludes, "Exciting, beautiful and tragic, this remains essential cinema, French or otherwise." Village Voice says it "is gorgeously melancholy, and not just because of its tragic love-triangle plot: Released less than three months before France and Britain declared war on Germany, it vibrates with unspoken foreboding and despair".

The Guardian calls it a "classic" and opens this review with,
One of the peaks of “poetic realism”, the 1930s film school known for its combination of leftwing attitudes, visual and verbal lyricism and a pessimistic view of lower-class characters snared by a cruel fate, Le jour se lève (Daybreak) qualifies as what the French call un film maudit, a movie with a curse upon it. It opened on the eve of the second world war, was banned during the occupation and remade in 1947 by RKO, who attempted to destroy all existing copies. In the 1950s the belligerent critics of Cahiers du cinéma, soon to be film-makers in the new wave, attempted to destroy the reputation of its director, Marcel Carné, accusing him of heavy-handedness and attributing all that is successful in Le jour se lève to his long-time collaborator, the poet Jacques Prévert. Fortunately they failed

4 comments:

  1. I wish I had gotten here sooner. I really want to see this one. Thanks for the review and the video.

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    1. I love this actor, and that's how I came across the film. I hope you like it :)

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  2. This a great French Realism film and the opening scene captures your attention right from the beginning! I love the storytelling with the flashbacks too, so clever 😀. Thanks for recommending this movie and wishing you a very Happy Friday and Weekend! J 😊 x

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    1. It's great to hear someone else who saw and liked it :)

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